They are three friends who describe themselves as the “mums-next-door”, who through their work are inspiring hundreds of thousands more.
Today, we are catching up with Three Bird Renovations are we go inside their newly refurbished #DIRTYBLUSHCRUSH HQ.
When Bonnie, Erin and Lana started Three Birds Renovations in 2014, they didn’t have a marketing strategy or a business plan.
Instead, knowing they wanted to try their hand in the renovating industry despite little existing knowledge or experience of it, they backed themselves and bought their first property.
With their first project working out well, they soon moved on to house number 2. As the trio continued to share their experience and process online through their Instagram account, they soon realised that maybe there was something in what they were creating.
Their audience was quickly growing organically, and they soon realised they had an opportunity – and what they call an obligation of sorts – to support, inspire and educate their burgeoning community.
With the launch of Three Bird Renovations’ newly refurbished HQ, I spoke with Three Birds’ Co-Founder and Marketing Director Lana to find out the inspiration behind the design (just WAIT until you see inside!!) and hear an insight into their business journey so far.
Why did you decide to refurb your (already pretty gorgeous!!) HQ?
As our Three Birds team grew, we knew it was time to overhaul our HQ to enable more people to be in the space at once. So, of course, we also saw the opportunity to create a fresh new look and feel – any excuse to renovate huh!
Where was the starting point for your new look HQ?
With every renovation we do, we always start by creating a Vision Board. The refurb of our HQ was no different. A Vision Board sets the whole tone for a project. It captures how you want your reno to look (the aesthetics) and, more importantly, how you want to feel in the finished space (the vibe).
Quite simply, a vision board is a visual summary of your goals and will keep you on track when you fall in love with lots of different colours and textures but need to choose just a few.
How long did the concept take to bring together and was there must disagreement between the team?
Our concept which we called #DIRTYBLUSHCRUSH came together very quickly and was inspired by Jai Vasicek’s head vase and stunning artwork. I mean what’s not to love about both those pieces. To be honest there’s never much disagreement within the team about the creative side of the business as we leave that in Bonnie’s hands as our Creative Director. Erin and I definitely bring more practical considerations to the table but from an aesthetics point of view, Bon makes the call on that.
You started the business in 2014 – looking back now, how has the business changed over the years?
The business has evolved enormously from when we first started out as property flippers. We never set out to create a large social following but once it came, we felt a huge obligation to help inspire and educate those people (90% of whom were women) with their own dream projects.
So with that in mind, we now renovate forever homes more so than investment properties and we try to create content that will help others achieve their reno goals.
Launching the Reno School in Feb 2018 was a major milestone for us as it really represented our commitment to teaching people everything we know to help them design, renovate and style their own dream homes.
What have been some of the biggest lessons (or not so shiny moments!) along the way?
We’ve learnt that we need separate roles and responsibilities in the company. Bonnie is clearly the Creative Director, Erin the Operations Director and myself the Marketing Director. This enables us to focus on different sides of the business and with so many wonderful opinions that we often bring to the table, we ultimately need one decision maker and that usually falls to the Director of that department.
We also learnt that we can’t do it all on our own, so we’ve been slowly building our team in all departments (including a CEO) to foster growth and ensure we don’t kill each other in the process ;-)) If it were just the three of us, doing everything, it would be impossible.
In our business we often joke that things move so quickly it’s like we operate in dog years… 1 year is actually 7 years. It really is hard to know what we’ll be doing next year because there are so many opportunities that pop up along the way. Because of this, we try not to get too bogged down with a long-term strategy that can’t be flexible and adapt to new learnings and unforeseen doors opening.
And what have been your favourite moments in business so far?
We’re often too busy to stop and smell the roses which isn’t great. We hardly pause to celebrate or recognise these moments and that’s definitely an area of improvement for us.
Having said that, I think we did stop and pinch ourselves with the recent launch of our first book. We discussed the idea of a book many years ago but it always felt like a bit of a pipe-dream. Now it’s happened and we’re over the moon with the response. It’s hit the best-seller list and our publisher just told us they’re already undertaking two more reprints.
We’ve also been so happy with the success of our online Reno School. We thought it would be a useful learning platform for everyday people, but we never quite anticipated the love and gratitude that people have for the course content and the Facebook community we’ve created of students and graduates.
And last but not least, there’s always a great sense of pride and accomplishment with every project we complete. We’re soon to reveal House 10 and we’re just as excited as when we finished our first house.
When it comes to marketing your business, what did your strategy look like in the early days and how has it changed?
We had no marketing strategy when we started. In fact, we didn’t even have a business strategy. We didn’t know enough about the renovating industry or our capabilities to write anything meaningful. So instead we just decided to try it out by buying one property and seeing how we went with renovating it and putting it on the market. We made an acceptable profit on auction day and repeated the winning formula with House 2.
But it was when our social following started to organically grow to a reasonable size that we realised that lots of people were interested in what we were doing and hence we started to put a little more thought into how we could share our journey with them in a meaningful and fun way.
Now we describe what we do in very simple terms as “the mums-next-door teaching the mums-next-door how to design, renovate and style their dream homes”.
You are absolutely nailing your Instagram – can you tell us what your strategy/approach looks like?
Instagram was the first platform where we started to share our journey so it will always be at the arrow tip of what we do. Our strategy isn’t too complicated – we just try to share inspirational pics of our projects with captions which are informative, helpful or fun and sometimes all of the above. It’s really important to us that our tone of voice comes through which can be hard if you’re trying to get your kids to school in the morning and write a witty and wonderful post. Several years ago we realised Instagram alone was not enough to bring to life our brand purpose so we expanded our digital footprint to include Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and with everything driving back to our website – where we have loads more information for our audience. And now www.therenoschool.com is one of the most important elements of our business.
Could you share your top Instagram tip for other biz owners?
Be authentic and give the audience what they want, not what you want.
And finally, could you name drop three of your fav creatives we should check out?
A huge thank you to Lana and the Three Birds team for letting us in on their biz journey and their STUNNING new HQ! Follow these inspiring women at threebirdsrenovations.com and @threebirdsrenovations.